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The principle in Lysaght v Edwards in Australia & Ramifications

Honey, R. and Mugambwa, J.T. (2011) The principle in Lysaght v Edwards in Australia & Ramifications. In: Carruthers, Penny, Mascher, Sharon and Skead, Natalie, (eds.) Property and sustainability: Selected essays. Thomson Reuters, Australia, Pyrmont, N.S.W., pp. 331-358.

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Until quite recently, the legal position of the purchaser pursuant to a valid contract for the sale of land was clear: upon execution of a specifically enforceable contract for the sale of land, the vendor becomes in equity a constructive trustee of the land for the purchaser and beneficial ownership of the land passes to the purchaser. This became known as the principle in Lysaght v Edwards. 1 Based on the doctrine of conversion, 2 it was adopted in most common law jurisdictions, 3 including Australia. 4 For more than a century it has existed as a fundamental principle of Australian real property law, providing an important part of the conceptual foundation upon which the law of vendor and purchaser is based. Thus, several important and well settled rules are premised upon the proposition that the purchaser 5 is the beneficial owner of the purchased land, or, at least, that he or she holds an equitable interest in it. These include the:

• passage of risk upon the sale of land;
• priority of a purchaser's interest over later equitable interests;
• protection by caveat of the purchaser's interest;
• severance of joint tenancy by sale of land; and
• rules of succession pertaining to land that is the subject of a valid contract of sale.

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Business
Publisher: Thomson Reuters, Australia
Copyright: Thomson Reuters, Australia
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